Difficult high power electric charging on Italian highways

Construction sites and queues permitting, people “run” more on the highway, but not electric. Not in Italy anyway and not according to the report “Pillars on the highway 2022” by InsideEVs.it, the global portal dedicated to electric mobility, which has photographed “the delay of the beautiful country in the development of the necessary infrastructure” for those who travel with zero emissions. Research complains that only 7.5% of highway service areas are equipped for rapid energy supply. According to ACEA, the association of vehicle manufacturers operating in Europe, there are 23,543 charging points in Italy, almost 7,000 fewer than the 30,273 registered by the portal, whose data was updated at the end of July. At least in theory, there is one station for every 5 electric cars, almost 146,000 circulating (excluding plug-ins).

Charging points, half of them throughout the European Union are concentrated in two countries

Mattia Ecchielli

The High Power Charging (HPC) charging points, at high power, i.e. between 150 and 350 kWh and therefore able to guarantee quick refueling, between 15 and 30 minutes on average, is just over a thousand, 3% of the total. The pioneers of zero-emission tourism (at the next Caravan Salon in Düssledorf, planned between the end of August and the beginning of September, Mercedes and Opel will also exhibit two electric motorhomes), whether Italian or foreign, will likely to encounter many difficulties in topping up energy on the highway. Only 38 service areas (27 attributable to Autostrade per l’Italia thanks to the agreement with Free to X and 8 to ANAS) out of 506 have filling stations for a total of 172 columns. Also considering the others, the non-HPC ones, the number of equipped service areas increases to 59, but the times of replenishment are much less “reasonable”.

As in Europe, where the concentration is higher in the north (half of the total charging points are located in only two countries, the Netherlands and Germany), the sockets are also on the national highway network mainly distributed in the northern regions: 118 located in 28 service areas against 16 (4) in southern Italy.

Among the “negligent” regions, despite the large influx of tourists from abroad, there is the Alto Adige train: along the 207 kilometers of the Brenner A22 there is no HPC charging station. Not even in Sicily, Calabria, Molise (36 kilometer network) and Basilicata (30) is it possible to quickly fill up with energy on the motorway. Emilia Romagna, a region with a high tourist appeal, and Lombardy have the highest number of equipped service areas, 8, and almost the same number of HPC sockets (34 and 36 respectively). However, the largest concentration is found in Valle d’Aosta: Along the 110 kilometers of the network, there are 2 charging points for a total of 18 columns. Piedmont, which at 825 kilometers boasts the largest motorway expansion, offers only three “electric” service areas (16 fast connections). Even Veneto does not fare very well in this ranking: it has a network of 583 kilometers, the third overall, but with a single HPC pillar.

“Italian” electric charging for the “German” electric races

Mattia Ecchielli

The map drawn by InsideEVs regarding the almost 7,000 kilometers of Italian highways is not particularly encouraging: the availability of charging stations has been rejected as “inadequate” and also “very uneven on the national territory”. The installation of the pillars is the responsibility of the motorway concessionaires, who are obliged to equip the network with the necessary infrastructure, possibly also through concrete tenders. As part of the Atlante project and through the eSolutions company that supplies the recharging systems, Stellantis could also be part of the game.

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